PATERSON, NJ- What Paterson’s Nicaraguan community may lack in size and organization it more than made up for in pride and enthusiasm as they raised their homeland’s flag in front of City Hall on Wednesday.
Declared Nicaraguan week by Mayor Andre Sayegh, the blue and white striped flag of the nation, representing peace, justice and loyalty, will fly until September 19.
Four of Paterson’s City Council members participated in the event, each offering brief comments echoing similar themes of unity, recognizing that while the city is unique and special because of its diversity the need to serve as “one Paterson” is paramount.
“We are better together,” Councilwoman Dr. Lilisa Mimms said with Councilman Luis Velez offering that in Paterson, regardless of their color, flag, or language, “nobody is a stranger” to the work and service of the body. Council members Ruby Cotton and Flavio Rivera were also in attendance.
Speaking on behalf of those that have come to Paterson from Nicaragua was Aracelly Calero. The long time city hall fixture, who came to the U.S in 1996, said she is working with others to show Paterson their culture, especially through gastronomy, highlighting the Central American nation’s cuisine.
The event also, Calero told TAPinto Paterson, was about bringing attention to their homeland which is currently “submerged in sadness and pain from the violations of universal human rights that are being curtailed,” listing off the rights to life, freedom and personal security as areas of particular concern.
“From this celebration we unite in solidarity and extend to that beautiful land that saw us being born all our prayers.”
Pointing to the words hanging over the podium: Juntos Somos Nicaragua, which translates to “together we are Nicaragua” Aracelly concluded “together we are one Paterson.”